Accounting professionals generally hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree to pursue a career in the banking or accountancy sector. Some individuals even go for a specialised course that earns them good jobs at reputed firms. Accounting qualifications are focussed on nurturing your understanding of subjects such as economics, mathematics and other such nuances that help you deal with the finances of an organisation.
These accounting courses can be enrolled or taken up at any stage of your career. Every course has a different specialisation and difficulty level which provides an entry at varied seniority levels and positions.
Different Types of Accountancy Qualifications in the UK
ACCA stands for Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and is the graduate entry route in the accountancy industry. An ACCA course is generally completed in 3-4 years, with exemptions for students from ACCA-accredited universities like Oxford Brookes University and the University of London.
There are 13 exams in total in the ACCA and these tests can be completed in a maximum of 7 years.
- ACCA entry requirement: Two A-levels and three GCSEs in subjects that include English and Mathematics.
ACA is a professional level examination that is available for baking and finance professionals. Students who complete the ACA qualification are rewarded with the title of “ICAEW Chartered Accountant''. There are 15 examination modules that test applicants on topics such as financial management, business, law and much more.
ACA qualification can be achieved by following one of the many routes available, but there is a mandatory requirement of acquiring 450 days of work experience at an ICAEW authorised training employer.
- ACA eligibility requirement: A recognized degree from a university. Various routes based on options like NVQ/SVQ levels, GCSEs and A levels, professional accountancy qualifications, etc.
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is a finance qualification that helps in acquiring the designation of a Chartered Global Management Accountant.
On average, the completion of this course can take up to 3-6 years during which 12 exams are required to be passed by all applicants. Depending on the student's background, the route of CIMA is decided and can be followed as there are different entry routes for undergraduates, graduates, CMA graduates, etc. Students can get entry and start their CIMA qualification at Certificate, Operational, Management or Strategic level.
- CIMA eligibility requirement: Matriculation or Intermediate, Undergraduate or Graduate, MBA or other professional degrees for entry at various levels of the CIMA examination.
CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance) is one of the only bodies that is dedicated to public finance services. The syllabus of these examinations includes, but is not limited to, green finance, data analytics, ethical accounting and more.
Students generally need 3-4 years to complete the CIPFA qualification but it can alter or change depending on the qualification and work experience of the candidate. The exams are held in four stages and consist of 12 modules, training an individual with technical knowledge and exposure to public sector functioning.
- CIPFA eligibility requirement: Three GCSEs, grades A-C and two A-levels, grades A-C or equivalent. BTEC and SCOTVEC national certificates are acceptable as well. If a candidate has work experience of 3 years but not the right academic experience even then they can appear for the CIPFA examination.